Rather than letting cardboard go to waste in your home, you can turn cardboard into great STEAM projects. Not only can you learn something new and get those creative juices flowing but you’re also recycling. Win/win for everyone and the environment! Check out some favorite projects below, from engineering projects, to cardboard crafts, to science, and math, too.
Cardboard Engineering Projects
Cardboard is hands-down our favorite supply to use for engineering projects. It’s cheap, lightweight, and readily available. Check out a couple of our favorite cardboard engineering projects in action in the video below.
Suspension Bridge | Left Brain Craft Brain
When my babe and I were crossing the bridge in San Fran, she asked about suspension bridges which led us to this project. Learn about how suspension bridges work and why we use them.
Marble Run | Frugal Fun 4 Boys
Turn a cardboard box into a fun marble run game. This quick and easy engineering project will have your whole family competing in no-time!
Toilet Paper Roll Catapult | Left Brain Craft Brain
This super easy catapult is a great first cardboard engineering project for the littles. Just some toilet paper rolls, a recycled cap, tape, and a ruler and they’ll be launching stuff before you know it.
Cardboard Tube Sculptures | Art Bar Blog
Who knew toilet paper rolls could be so artistic?! But it takes an engineering mindset to make this sculpture not fall down (and maybe a little glue, too).
Toilet Paper Roll Balloon Car | Left Brain Craft Brain
Ready for a bigger challenge? These toilet paper roll balloon cars get really rolling with wind power and some homemade cardboard wheels and axles.
Robotic Arm | Instructables
Robots are all the rage right now and creating a robot arm out of cardboard will be sure to impress your children. This post even has a video to walk you through the robot arm process.
Construct a Building | Preschool STEAM
Design your own buildings with cardboard. Next, you can create a whole city for your child to play in.
Labyrinth | Frugal Fun 4 Boys
Take a cardboard box and turn into a fun labyrinth. Grab some craft sticks and a glue gun and create your own frustrating and fun maze.
Cardboard Crafts and Art Projects
Cardboard is an amazing art supply! Cheap, easy to get, and easy to modify, your creativity is your only limitation!
DIY Kaleidoscope | Left Brain Craft Brain
This is a crowd favorite because we all remember how mesmerizing these were as a kid. Bring that same level of fun and excitement to your kiddos with this simple DIY Kaleidoscope.
Cardboard Animals | Super Make It
Turn your cardboard into some colorful and beautiful animals. Let your imagination run wild and maybe create something new or a whole zoo.
A-Frame | Handmakery
Create these beautiful and creative A-Frames. Get creative and use other art supplies around the house to add to these beautiful A-Frames.
Abstract Art | Hello Wonderful
This project requires little materials and a whole lot of fun and creativity. You can’t go wrong and you’ll be amazed at what you can create.
Cardboard Cubism | Left Brain Craft Brain
Create and construct your own self-portrait out of cardboard with this fun STEAM challenge. It’s a great way to introduce some of the Cubist greats like Picasso, too.
Cardboard Pizza | Filth Wizardry
Kids love pizza and what better way to flex their creative juices by creating their own cardboard pizzas. Create your own little pizzeria with simple materials from around the house.
Parachute People | Goodness Gracious Living
Create little parachutes and parachute jumpers in this crafty art project. Grab your art supplies, a plastic bag, and a toilet paper roll and you’re off to the races. You can even race your parachute jumpers!
Cardboard Weaving Loom | Childhood 101
Weaving is one of those art projects that wows. Make an inexpensive loom from some cardboard and popsicle sticks.
Cardboard Science Experiments
Cardboard can be an amazing supply when learning about biology, the sun, forces, and more!
Recycled Balance Sculpture | Babble Dabble Do
Play with forces and get your art inspiration on with these fun balance sculptures. All you need is some recycled cardboard and a bamboo skewer to get started.
Solar Oven S’mores | Steve Spangler Science
Everyone loves s’mores and this project makes your s’more experience even better. Turn your takeout pizza box into a simple solar over and watch those s’mores cook.
Starting Out with Seeds | Rainy Day Mum
Turn those toilet paper rolls into starters for your seeds. This is a great way to start some plants indoors before transferring them outside or to a larger pot if needed.
DIY Paper | Instructables
Turn your recycled cardboard into your very own paper! This paper is artist tested and approved.
Pom Pom Shooter | Left Brain Craft Brain
Learn about force with these super cool Pom Pom Shooters. Force is working in a few ways and you’ll love learning about it. Plus, you can work on your target practice.
Math Activities that Use Cardboard
Cardboard doesn’t have to be left to building and crafting! It makes a great hands-on manipulative for making math facts stick, too.
Math Scratch–Off | Left Brain Craft Brain
Create math problems and hide the answer on these cute creative math scratch-offs. Your kiddos will love learning math in a unique way.
Pancake Math | The Educator’s Spin On It
Don’t worry, no cooking is involved! We’re turning cardboard into mini pancakes with math problems and answers on them. What a fun way to learn math problems. Caution: this may make you want pancakes after!
Math Board | Hello Wonderful
This board is great for kids working on their math skills. They can use a tangible like pom poms to do their math problems.
Fine Motor Math Facts | Fun Learning for Kids
Working on fine motor skills and math at once? Sounds like a win to us! Create math problems on a cardboard box and add the math facts to the slots in the box.
More Recycled Fun
For more recycled STEM projects, check out this blog post.
Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that you can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Explorers!! The coolest creative experience for kids is here! It's a digital book of the month club filled with tons of fun stuff for the kids to do and learn. All engineer, teacher, and mom-approved. And most definitely KID APPROVED!
- A monthly digital magazine with cool themes that are fun to read
- Hands-on, exciting projects the kids will love.
- Science, tech, engineering, art, and math learning YOU’LL love.
- Delicious recipes the kids can make.
- Fun printables and games
In February we're having fun with spy-themed STEAM! The kids will love building a super-secret highlighter flashlight, making I Spy art, leaving their mark on sweet treats, and using science to catch a spy. You’ll love the helpful standards-based learning, printables, and tools that make STEAM exploration easy!
We’ve split the issue into four weekly themes:
- This issue has four weekly themes to inspire your kiddos:
- WEEK 1: HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
- WEEK 2: KEEPING SECRETS
- WEEK 3: UNDERCOVER GADGETS
- WEEK 4: CATCH A SPY